Varsity Basketball

Basketball recap: City League, AVCTL championships have been clinched + magic numbers

Magic numbers

Friday was moving day across the Wichita area. Seven league championships were claimed in the City League, AVCTL and Central Plains League. Here are the updated league wins needed for each league-leader:

City League Boys: 0 (Wichita Southeast)

City League Girls: 0 (Wichita Heights)

AVCTL I Boys: 0 (Maize)

AVCTL I Girls: 0 (Derby)

AVCTL II Boys: 0 (Andover Central)

AVCTL II Girls: 1 (Maize South)

AVCTL III Boys: 1 (McPherson)

AVCTL III Girls: 0 (McPherson)

AVCTL IV Boys: 0 (Andale)

AVCTL IV Girls: 1 (Rose Hill)

Central Plains League Boys: 0 (Trinity Academy)

Central Plains League Girls: 1 (Cheney)

50 burger on the 7-time champs

Jude Warren became a name in Kansas basketball Friday night.

Warren, a Circle senior guard, scored 50 points in an 81-65 senior night win over McPherson. It was McPherson’s first league loss since joining AVCTL III seven seasons ago. The Pups were 71-0.

Warren was 16-of-20 from the field and 13-of-19 at the free throw line. He shot a better percentage on contested shots than those at the stripe.

“They couldn’t guard him tonight,” Circle coach Bo Horyna said. “He’s had at least three games this year where he’s gone for over 40. He just gets on these rolls.”

With the win, Circle stays alive in the AVCTL III title race. The Pups have clinched a share, but the Thunderbirds can split it if their rival Augusta snags a road upset Tuesday night.

Redemption on senior night

maize high school boys basketball caleb grill
Maize’s Caleb Grill Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

A year ago, Caleb Grill walked out of the Maize locker room with his hood on after a home loss in the sub-state championship game to Salina Central.

Friday night, the Eagles’ motto, “Red Dead Redemption” came to life as they beat the Mustangs on senior night 58-45. Maize will complete an undefeated regular season with a win at Salina South on Tuesday, but beating the other Salina school meant more at least for the night.

“This is definitely the game we’ve been looking forward to the most all year,” Grill said. “We wanted to get them so bad back here. It feels like we lost to them yesterday. It’s been on our minds all year.”

Senior Devon Koehn led the Eagles with 16 points and capped his special night with a fourth quarter, breakaway dunk. He was one of three Maize seniors to hit the high-percentage shot as Brandle Easter Jr. got a slam before the final buzzer, and Grill dunked a pair before the end of the first and second quarters, including an alley-oop from senior Chase Schreiner.

Herd of the Buffaloes?

Wichita Southeast high school basketball
Wichita Southeast’s Jackie Johnson (left), Johnny Murdock (center) and Breelyn Wright (right) were key to the Golden Buffaloes’ 72-64 home win over Heights on Tuesday night. (Feb. 12, 2019) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Southeast has done something for the first time since its coach was a junior with the Buffaloes.

The City League leaders made it an outright clinch of the Wichita championship for the first time since 2008 with a 74-57 win over Kapaun on Friday. The Golden Buffaloes’ only loss came at Heights on Jan. 4.

The Buffaloes caught a break toward the league title Feb. 5 when East beat Heights 60-57 on the road in what has turned out to be one of the upsets of the City League season. They clinched a share of the crown Tuesday with a 72-64 home win over the Falcons.

Central of attention

Andover Central high school boys basketball Xavier Bell
Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

On a night in which Andover Central clinched its first outright league title since 2012, junior Xavier Bell made history.

Bell eclipsed 1,000 career points Friday during the Jaguars’ 76-53 road win over Valley Center to seal the AVCTL II championship, one of the tougher titles to claim in the Wichita area. Bell finished with 33 points.

Five AVCTL II teams are included in the top 10 seeds of Class 5A West. All of them have a winning record.

“It’s been a long time,” coach Jesse Herrmann said. “We’re happy, and you have to celebrate the championships you win.”

Trained Pups

McPherson high school girls basketball emma ruddle
McPherson’s Emma Ruddle Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Since the 2012-13 season, the McPherson girls have lost twice in February.

The Bullpups boosted the trend Friday with a 58-47 road win over Circle to clinch the AVCTL III title and 15th straight victory. The Thunderbirds were the league’s top contender, but they had trouble guarding all five positions.

McPherson’s scoring tree was well-balanced as sophomore Grace Pyle led the way with 15. Junior Emma Ruddle had a dozen. And senior Hannah Hageman added nine. Four others were between 2-8.

“Our expectations for the postseason kind of trump the league title, but we don’t take things for granted either,” coach Chris Strathman said. “We beat a really good team on the road, and that’s the main thing is keeping that momentum going toward the postseason.”

Derby dominance

Derby high school girls basketball: Jaidyn Schomp
Derby sophomore forward Jaidyn Schomp lets out a yell during the Panthers’ 66-52 win over Wichita Heights on day one of the AVCTL/GWAL Challenge. (Jan. 10, 2019) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Over the past two seasons, the Derby girls have outscored their league opponents by 25 points a night and haven’t had a game decided by three points or fewer.

The Panthers clinched another AVCTL I title Friday with a 64-27 road win over rival Campus. They remain undefeated on their quest for a second straight Class 6A state championship.

8 straight

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Andale’s Mason Fairchild celebrates after the Indians clinch a 56-55 overtime win against rival Collegiate on Friday night. (Dec. 14, 2018) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Andale hasn’t missed a league championship since before Wichita Heights won its fourth straight state title in 2012.

The Indians kept the streak alive with an outright AVCTL IV title following a 76-32 win over Mulvane. Andale got help, too, as Rose Hill took down top contender Collegiate for the first time in over 15 years with a 57-44 victory.

Knighted champions

Trinity Academy high school boys basketball: Caden Vanlandingham
Trinity Academy’s Caden Vanlandingham rounds the corner on Kapaun’s Jarius Kennedy during the Knights’ 68-55 win over the Crusaders in the semifinals of the Bluestem Classic in El Dorado on Friday night. (Jan. 18, 2019) Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

The Central Plains League has four teams with at least nine league wins, but Trinity Academy is set to complete an undefeated run through the CPL.

The Knights clinched the outright league title with a 66-36 road win over Garden Plain. They are the No. 1 seed in Class 4A West at 18-1 ahead of its final league game at home agianst Kingman.

Slip at the top

Cheney high school girls basketball Kylee scheer
Hayden Barber The Wichita Eagle

Only four league titles remain unclaimed after Friday night, and none of the races have had more drama than the Central Plains girls championship.

The CPL push took a left Friday as Trinity Academy upset Garden Plain, co-league-leader and defending Class 3A champion, 51-47 on the road in overtime. The loss gives rival Cheney a clear shot to the outright crown. The Cardinals need a road win over Independent on Tuesday.

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Wichita Eagle preps reporter Hayden Barber brings the area updates on all high school sports while adding those hard-to-find human-interest stories on Wichita’s student-athletes.
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